Thursday, August 25, 2011

Chipotle-Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie

I'm making a slight transition tonight; autumnal flavors like smoky chipotle and earthy sweet potatoes are starting to tickle my taste buds, perhaps because summer is winding down (and this rainy weather is kicking in).  This dish is a fun variation on standard shepherd's pie, but if you prefer, make it with the more traditional Yukon gold or russet potatoes in the topping.

For the topping:
  • 1 (7-ounce) can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (such as Casa Fiesta)
  • 2 and 1/4 pounds sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup plain non-dairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
For the filling:
  • 2 (14-ounce) packages Lightlife ground beef
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped carrot
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
  • 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons steak sauce (such as Whole Foods 365)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1. Remove 1 chipotle chile from the can and coarsely chop.  Remove 2 teaspoons adobo sauce from the can; reserve the remaining chiles and adobo sauce for another use. 

Note: chipotle chiles freeze well in tupperware; just defrost before using either the chiles or adobo sauce in your next recipe that calls for them.  I use Casa Fiesta brand because it is the only one I know of that does not include potentially non-vegan sugar in the ingredient list.

2. Peel the sweet potatoes, and cut into 1-inch pieces.  Place the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with water; bring to a boil.  Continue to cook for 15 minutes, until tender.  Drain.  Place the sweet potatoes in a large bowl, along with the chopped chipotle chile, the 2 teaspoons adobo sauce, milk, salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.  Beat at medium speed until smooth.  I found a stand mixer worked better for this step than a hand mixer (which caused milk to splatter).

3. Meanwhile, cook the Lightlife beef in a large skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat until browned, breaking apart into smaller pieces with a fork as it cooks - it will take about 5 to 6 minutes.  Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels.

4. Re-coat the pan with cooking spray and add the onion, carrot, and garlic; saute for 8 minutes.  Return the beef to the pan, along with the peas, crushed tomatoes, parsley, steak sauce, tomato paste, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.  Cook for a final 2 minutes.

5. Spoon the beef mixture into a 3-quart casserole dish, and top with the sweet potato mixture, spreading evenly to the edges.  Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. 

Nutrition Info:
8 servings (1 portion), Calories 406

Tasting Notes:
Just wonderful!  Exactly the right amount of smokiness and spice from the chipotle, without overwhelming the rest of the dish.  The sweet potatoes were a fun variation on white potatoes, and the beef filling was so savory and warming and hearty.  I would make this dish again and again.  I do recommend simmering the potatoes for about 10 minutes longer, so they are very tender and you can beat out all the lumps.



  1. I made this Sunday nite and it was delicious. I had a few left over baked sweet potatoes from Thanksgiving and just smushed them up with the other topping ingredients. I hope you don't mind I posted the pics of my dish with a link back to your site. You get full credit for this amazing dish. My husband ranted and raved about it and we're having leftovers for dinner tonight. Thanks for a fantastic casserole.

  2. hi Glo, I am so glad you enjoyed! If you want another idea for leftover sweet potatoes, I highly recommend my recent post for Sweet Potato Tart with Pecan Crust! Please let me know your website, as I would love to check out your photos.

  3. Yummy that tart sounds delicious too. You can find my blog at:

    thanks again for some delicious recipes.